Entries in "personal, political, and powerful"
July 24, 2007
addressing unfair compensation in US companies
What were the managers at Goodyear Tire and Rubber thinking, when they continued to keep Lilly Ledbetter's salary lower than her 15 other peers, who were also front-line supervisors doing the same work, for years and years and years?
Apparently, they were thinking that the government would be on their side, because Ms. Ledbetter had not smelled the rat quickly enough. She did not receive any hints from coworkers until late in her career that she was not receiving fair compensation.
A jury found evidence of pay discrimination, and awarded Ledbetter back pay and damages. Goodyear appealed that judgment and it was reviewed this year by the United States Supreme Court, where it was overturned on a technicality by a 5-4 vote. The majority justices were Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas.
On June 20, CA representative George Miller introduced a bill to remove that technicality for all future workers; it has already been approved by the House Education and Labor committee. His cosponsors in the House of Representatives included Andrews, Berkley, Capps, Clarke, Davis of IL, DeLauro, Farr, Hinjosa, Hirono, Hoyer, Kucinich, Loebsack, Maloney, McCarthy of NY, McCollum, McDermott, Nadler, Norton, Sanchez of CA, Shea-Porter, Slaughter, Van Hollen, and Woolsey. A press release from the Education and Labor Committee last month provides more details about the bill.
On July 22, MA Senator Edward Kennedy introduced the bill in the Senate as well. Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Boxer, Clinton, Dodd, Durbin, Harkin, Leahy, McCaskill, Murray, Mikulski, Obama, Snowe, Spector, Stabenow, and Whitehouse.
If your district representative and senator are not both on those lists, then I join with Law Blogger David S. Cohen in urging you to call the congressional members for your district and state to urge passage of the bill. If you happen to run across a chance to ask any other presidential candidate a question, ask them where they stand regarding pay discrimination -- with employers in covering up, or with employees in seeking protection within a reasonable time period after learning about potential discrimination.
More information about the case and the proposed law is available at CorrectTheCourt, along with an easy web form for contacting your legislators. Of course, a phone call or "snail mail" letter may have more impact than a form-based email.
Kudos for Lilly Ledbetter for continuing to combat injustice and to stand up for future generations who might face unfair compensation in US companies.
June 13, 2007
21 days and counting
As Valdis commented at BFD a few months back, people don't move to California because of the weather. I've always thought of myself as an optimistic person, and I grew up in Connecticut and Switzerland, so snow, grey skies, and cold don't faze me much. There are a lot of people who move away from this area because they believe Cleveland is dying a slow death. In contrast, I remain optimistic about Cleveland's future. Click through to read why...
Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics
Our handbook (which I co-edited with Ron Fry and David Cooperrider) is to be released next week, according to its Amazon listing. (The other good news is that Amazon is quoting a price almost 30% off Stanford University Press' list price.)
Here is a list of chapters and contributors:
December 30, 2006
where will you be on January 4, 2007?
The president of NOW invites us to witness the swearing-in ceremony for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and lays out an agenda for the next session of Congress. I have not followed NOW for a while, and I'm impressed that the agenda is not narrowly focused on Roe vs. Wade... it really is targetted to better the lives of women in America, in equitable ways.
Will you be watching Pelosi's swearing in? What are your hopes for the next session of Congress?
December 25, 2006
Rev. Terry Kime, the former interim minister at the UUSC, offered the two prayers below to her Chatauqua congregation in December 2005. She found them in A Contemporary Celtic Prayer Book, by William John Fitzgerald:
Prayer at Rising:
Bless our work this day, from morning's waking till night's folding.
Bless our comings and goings, the spinning of our labor and our lives.
May the ones we meet be the better for it.
Bless this day, bless this journey, bless the work.
Prayer at End of Day:
May the sun go down on anger, stress and worry.
May the sun go down on problem solving and planning.
May the sun go down on rush and deadlines.
May the sun go down on this day's work, now done.
May the sacred circle of the sun frame our day in blessing.
May it signal bright days ahead, new energies and emerging hopes.
July 02, 2006
evolving notions of a mother's place
Societal expectations of mothers have evolved dramatically since the 1930s. Remember the old chestnut that women should be "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen"? Gone the way of the dodo bird, right? If it were, the Ohio state legislature would not have had any reason to pass a law last year, stating that "a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location of a place of public accomodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted." That's why a group of mothers and babies held a nurse-in yesterday at Crocker Park in Westlake. I attended to support their rights to breastfeed in public. The event is covered on page B1 of the July 2 Plain Dealer (which is now available online).
This right has been frequently challenged in recent years. Lots of people still think that mothers with nursing babies should stay home, or go home to feed their babies. Breastpumps, bottles, and artificial baby milk make it possible for anyone to feed a baby, and once that is possible, there's more room to argue that a mother should conform to notions of modesty that have been applied to all women equally in our society. This view privileges the sexual appeal of breasts to men, and argues that mothers should not appear in public when they are using their breasts to feed their babies. It's expressed by comments such as this one, responding to news coverage of a Milwalkee nurse-in:
"Honestly think somethings are done better in a private place and why on earth would anyone want to breast feed in a dressing room, working in retail I can agree with the employees most malls set up family restrooms for this purpose. You take away from business."
Obviously, this is not a view with which I agree. Restrooms are noplace where anyone should be eating. Family restrooms in malls are great places to change diapers, but they do not have a comfortable spot to sit down and nurse.
There's a lot of work still to be done before our society broadly accepts that a breastfeeding mother's place is anywhere...
May 03, 2006
the metaphors of motivating change
"buy in", "get on board", "commit"
"selling", "signing up", "winning over"
Such interesting metaphors we use to describe what we want employees to do in response to a proposed organizational change, and what we as change agents need to do to get them to cooperate.
Yet one metaphor is even more pernicious than all the others, and potentially, much more damaging. "Overcoming resistance".
I'm going to leave you with that teaser, and come back to these ideas in about 10 days, when my grading is finished, my summer research projects are out for review in the human subjects committee or the grant approval committees, and I have had some time to recharge by visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. The quiet phase should end around May 15.
In the meantime, please explore my other blog entries, and leave me a comment or two if you'd like? I will look forward to hearing from you.
Here are some old, but valuable, thoughts on organizational change and transformative cooperation:
- My Research Focus
- Voluntary Collaborations on the Web
- Speaking of Glacial Change
- What is it about College that Helps Students Learn?
- Is McDonalds socially responsible, or is it marketing greenwash?
April 30, 2006
outcomes of the Global Night Commute
There was an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday about plans for the Saturday night event. Similarly, in California, KGET reported on plans in Bakersfield and 10news reported on plans in San Diego. In Seattle, over 1000 people were expected to participate.
News is also beginning to come in about attendance at the events around the world. In Rochester, NY, there is already a report from WROC, a local television station, saying that 200 people in that city participated in the night commute last night. In Augusta, GA, more than 25 people participated in the march, and in Aiken County, GA, participants numbered over 200 (story here, login required or use bugmenot.com). In Austin, TX, the Austin American Statesman reported that hundreds of college students walked from the clock tower at the UT campus to the grounds of the state capitol to participate in the night commute. There are also photos of this event available at Flickr already, and here's a story from an Austin TV station. In San Francisco, over 500 people gathered, according to the local CBS news station. In Chicago, over 2000 people gathered in Grant Park, including one teenager from Uganda who now attends a private school in the US thanks to the folks at Invisible Children. And here's a personal account of the San Diego event, which was huge -- 5000 people in Balboa park! Participants in other cities have been checking in on MySpace with updates about what the Global Night Commute was like for them. The pictures are really inspiring!
Unfortunately, I can't find any information from anyone who was at the Free Stamp last night. If you were there, would you please leave a comment and let me know what it was like?
April 29, 2006
tonight, far away...
... children will walk to the center of a city in fear, seeking security amidst war.
Tonight, in downtown Cleveland at the Free Stamp, an estimated 250 people will gather to draw attention to the injustice of a war in Africa and to ask the world's superpower to take an active role in peacemaking.
I will not be able to participate in the Global Night Commute to recognize the Invisible Children of Uganda, at least not by staying the whole night. I cannot bring myself to tell this story to my 5-year-old daughter, and I want to spend the night with her. She would not understand why I want to go camping without her. I hope that someone who reads this message will be inspired to attend in my place.
Here's the story:
An estimated 20,000-50,000 children in Northern Uganda have been abducted and forced into service as child soldiers.
1.7 million people have been forcibly displaced.
Americans tonight will band together to demand that our government do its part to put an end to the longest-running war in Africa, and one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.
No child should be forced to hide in the center of a city at night to avoid kidnapping and forced conscription.
I heard about this from one of my former students, who is now living in Taiwan. Around the world, over 50,000 people are signed up to recognize the children of Uganda tonight. If you read about this event in the paper on Sunday, please remember that you heard about it here first... and if you *don't* read about it in the paper on Sunday, ask your editor why not!
April 18, 2006
hold them in your thoughts
I just learned that an MBA and PhD alumna, Jaye Goosby Smith, has been widowed. Her husband, Tony, died in a car accident in California. Jaye and Tony are parents to an adorable little girl, and I'm sure that Jaye's high-school age son is feeling the loss as well. I hope they find comfort in a circle of friends, near and far, who are holding them in their thoughts at this difficult time.
April 08, 2006
A spiritual experience in Amasa Stone Chapel - part 1
The first thing I did after dropping my daughter off at preschool on Friday morning was to drive to Borders to pick up copies of the books by Anne Lamott, which I hoped to have her sign after her keynote appearance at the end of Case's Humanities Week. All day I was giddy with anticipation.
I walked over to the chapel just before 3:30, and as a Case community member I was allowed to enter. I was chagrined to discover that they had books for sale in the vestibule, and had worked with Joseph-Beth to arrange these sales. I knew that I was going to need to do penance for spending money on Anne's books at a "non-independent" bookstore... and sure enough, during her conversation with Tim Beal, Anne reminded us more than once to go look someone up at Amazon, but buy our books from an independent bookstore. In penance, I'm posting a link to this about.com listing of independent bookstores in Cleveland, which includes my favorites, Appletree books and Mac's Backs. I promise to buy all the books that Anne recommended during her visit, and to buy them from one of these stores.
(click through to read more)
April 01, 2006
female role models, then and now
When I think back to the influences that made me into a feminist, one of my first memories is of watching Wonder Woman with my younger sister. (We never read the comic strip series but watched the tv series which starred Lynda Carter. In case you want to estimate my age, let me out myself -- I was ten when this show finished production.) I still remember running around the backyard pretending that I had bullet-deflecting armbands and could protect the world from bad guys. All too quickly, though, I learned that not even quick wits and a sharp tongue could always protect us from the painful criticisms that teenagers can inflict on one another.
Now, my daughter watches Kim Possible, and I've noticed that the message being sent about what it takes to be a "super woman" has not changed that much over the years.
February 12, 2006
no ordinary Sunday
I did something very unusual today (unusual for me, that is). I attended a worship service at the Unitarian Universalist Society on Lancashire Road in Cleveland Heights. I had been drawn by the invitation from Theresa Kine, interim minister, to celebrate February as a time to thaw and open up new space for growth within ourselves.
After the service, the minister introduced herself during the tea and coffee hour, and I asked her about her closing benediction, which I had found especially powerful... it included a phrase or two about "greeting the spiritual in our lives with laughter and with tears" and something about the strength to suffer hopefully. She said it was by Forrest Church of All Souls in NYC. I have not been able to find the benediction online, but I did find this very recent sermon of his, which was a powerful read. It is entitled "you say you're not religious", which is one of the things I have said many times in my life. He does a good job of giving a realistic preview of what it would mean to join a UU community.
If you are seeking answers to spiritual questions, like me, I hope you had the good fortune to hear wisdom shared today in a community of likeminded people.
November 02, 2005
One of my advisors once said...
... "you can be either a reader or a writer." The implication was, of course, that it's better to write every day, and read sometimes, if we students were planning on successful academic careers. If you have noticed my silence over the last two weeks, I apologize -- but I am right now in editing mode, and I have no time to blog! I'm working to make the final adjustments to the edited book, '''A Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics''', which I will be sending in to Stanford University Press with David Cooperrider and Ron Fry as co-editors. My aim is to get this work done in the next two weeks, and then come back to blogging.
In the meantime, I hope that you will enjoy reading the thoughts of our undergraduate management majors in MGMT 250 -- they are writing about all kinds of interesting things, from ethics to summer jobs, incentive plans to intrinsic motivation -- and perhaps you might comment on an entry or two. All the students' entries are gathered here.